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Get your dog tags here

Ministers are planning to implant “machine-readable” microchips under the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the electronic tagging scheme that would create more space in British jails.

Amid concerns about the security of existing tagging systems and prison overcrowding, the Ministry of Justice is investigating the use of satellite and radio-wave technology to monitor criminals.

But, instead of being contained in bracelets worn around the ankle, the tiny chips would be surgically inserted under the skin of offenders in the community, to help enforce home curfews. The radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, as long as two grains of rice, are able to carry scanable personal information about individuals, including their identities, address and offending record.

This is beyond belief, or, at least, it would be if we had not been covering the various madcap schemes coming out of Whitehall the past few years. What we have here is a government that believes that the rights and liberties of its people ought to be ordered to suit the priorities of British police forces.

Now if you take this to be a good idea, you are going to be hard pressed to deny the logical conclusion, that if we were all implanted with RFID tags, it would be much easier to solve and prevent crimes in the first place. This is very probably true, but it also degrades the individual to the point where humans become mere vassals of the almighty British State.

Given the trend of affairs in the UK, that is probably the way things are going to go- give it a decade or two. Early adapters should get themselves arrested and tagged early, to beat the rush.

48 comments to Get your dog tags here

  • a.sommer

    That’s daft.

    If the data is stored in the chip, the person would have to be re-chipped whenever they moved or commited another offense.

    If the chip is as large as ‘two grains of rice’, and is implanted close to the skin, removing it would not be at all difficult for someone with such advanced medical tools as an X-acto knife.

    RFID chips are not self-powered, they are powered by the scanners. Tracking RFID chips from orbit is highly impractical due to the inverse-square law.

    This sounds like a bunch of politicians making decisions when they know bugger-all about the technology involved.

    It will be interesting to see how it turns out, but I’m glad to be watching it from the west side of the Atlantic.

  • chuck

    With a dab of ricin in the center, just in case.

  • debi

    This is xfiles/mark of the beast type sh*t.

    It’ll be reserved for bad guys at first, but eventually, they come for us law-abiding schmucks.

  • B's Freak

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to implant the chips into MP’s and have web sites showing their locations so that constituents could track their whereabouts?
    I believe this would be called “leader ship by example”.

  • countingcats

    Well, install readers in the street, every couple of hundred yards. Every commercial establishment could be required, as a condition of the licences that every business would be required to hold in order to stay in business, to install them at every entrance.

    Join the readers together via a wireless mesh network, with the data being sent to repositories, and viola, instant tracking of every individual in the country. In real time.

    The street readers would be installed ostensibly to keep track of all the offenders, criminal, ASBO defaulters and other administratively controlled (courts? What courts? We don’t need your stinkin courts) people, and then, when the system is in place, argue for the tracking of everyone on grounds of efficient use of infrastructure and “catching offenders”. Of course, if removal or faking of the device were a criminal offence, criminals would never dream of doing it, would they.

  • Ian B

    “Don’t worry, there will be data safeguards in place. Law abiding citizens have nothing to fear”.

    With the general population (those not convicted of a crime yet) they’ll probably start with children, with Madeleine McCann type examples as proof of the need for 24/7 tracking. What hysterical middle class parent won’t want their kids to have tracking devices?

  • Brendan Halfweeg

    The problem of having to be a criminal first to get chipped is easily solved by making it a criminal offence to NOT be chipped.

    Never underestimate the state.

  • Wouldn’t it make more sense to implant the chips into MP’s and have web sites showing their locations so that constituents could track their whereabouts?

    Did you mean, “leader-chip” by example?

  • Lee Kelly

    The prison overpopulation problem is not the important problem, but rather the symptom of a deeper problem i.e. criminals are not being sufficiently punished for their crimes, with shorter and lighter sentences. In consequence, more crimes are committed, more innocent people suffer, and prison numbers swell. Unfortunately, nobody in government seems to understand this elementary fact, but rather seem to believe that criminals commit crimes out of some obligation to statiticians, and not in response to their circumstances and incentives.

    Now, predictably, after suffering the consequences of these policies, the British public will be the victim of another “solution”, to a problem which the government itself created. It is all too predictable.

  • They wouldn’t need to inject it when it came to ordinary citizens. It would be rather easier just to have them embedded in a phone SIM card, ID card. Hell, I am already carrying an Oyster card wherever I go so Red Ken certainly knows where I am traveling. You would just need a few more readers around the place to know where I am shopping and drinking!

  • This is a Fencepost(Link).

    I tell you the only people who need to be “chipped like dogs” are those coming up with and agreeing to stuff like this – and when I say chipped, I mean in the ‘Fargo’ sense of the word.

  • p.s. It will bring new meaning to wearing a tin foil hat. In a mad world, the normal people are the true crazies.

  • Ian, I am a middle class parent, and as hysterical as they come – believe me, and even I wouldn’t even consider it. I doubt many parents would, but I could be wrong.

  • Lee Kelly

    Alisa,

    I do not think it matters whether the parents would consider placing tracking chips in theur children. The children of the United Kingdom do not belong to themselves or their parents, but to the government. I think that this should be abundantly clear by now, given the sweeping authority that has been granted to child psychiatrists, social services, and other bureaucrats, not to mention the compulsory indoctrination system (occasionally misnamed the “eduction system”).

    The family unit is always a problem for social engineers, and one they always seek to undermine. We are all brother and sisters now, children of the earth, of Gaia.

  • ian

    What hysterical middle class parent won’t want their kids to have tracking devices?

    Isn’t software available to do just that already via mobile phones?

  • R C Dean

    Now if you take this to be a good idea, you are going to be hard pressed to deny the logical conclusion, that if we were all implanted with RFID tags, it would be much easier to solve and prevent crimes in the first place.

    Haven’t you Brits already crossed this bridge with your ubiquitous video camera monitoring? How would this not be the logical extension of it?

  • Jim

    …you are going to be hard pressed to deny the logical conclusion, that if we were all implanted with RFID tags, it would be much easier to solve and prevent crimes in the first place…

    – or at least, “They” will undoubtedly reach this conclusion despite the huge evidentiary block in their path: all those CCTV’s.

    Britain now has 20% of the world’s CCTV’s scanning its streets. I have to ask, how much have they reduced crime in Britain? A lot? A little? AT ALL???

    So it will go with the chip-thingies. Law-abiders will be duly chipped, and can thus be easily tagged for extra speeding tickets, loitering fines &c to finance the scheme; criminals will (in very short order) figure-out how to defeat the system, and then they alone will have their privacy respected.

    Just like gun control.

  • Ryan Frank

    Jim,

    Soooo….

    When privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy?

    Sounds about right.

    Anyone seen the movie “Demolition Man”? Its kind of a cheesy action flick, but I loved how they showed police operating in a society where everyone is ‘chipped’. When a murderer who is not chipped is running around, the brillant police plan is to wait until he kills someone who is chipped so they can find him.

  • wandering

    It’s all about incentives.

    If a government (i.e., UK) can’t understand why people do what they do, then they will never fix the problem.

    Example: British criminals are so prevalent because they know that the authorities & police are incapable of doing anything even marginally effective to curb crime. Thus, crime remains one of the safest, most profitable, & most enjoyable jobs in the UK. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that the govt will ever get their heads out of their a****.

  • Charlie

    Learn to like it. Sadly when the time came, most everyone was pointing their fingers at Bush. Now it’s too late. You can vote no on all the EU constitutions you want, if you are lucky enough to get to vote on them. It won’t matter. You are going to get it all, the New Europe. There is nothing you can do about it anymore. So learn to like it, implants and all.

  • Pixelkiller

    Britain is doomed.

  • I home school my kids, I don’t have a cell phone. My kids have never been assaulted, except once when the older went to government school. Which is why I homeschool.

  • I home school my kids, I don’t have a cell phone. My kids have never been assaulted, except once when the older went to government school. Which is why I homeschool.

  • Paul A' Barge

    Whilst I have a huge problem with this in theory, I have no problem with chip implanting into criminals.

    These folks have by their actions ceased to be free citizens of the state. If they don’t want a chip, let them stay in jail, or better yet not do the crime.

    I see no difference between an ankle bracelet and a chip in the neck.

    So, it’s either that or off the buggers, eh?

  • Boyd

    Pretty undeniable that crime is impossible to get away with if one can’t hide the slightest detail of ones activities. No way to put together an alibi. I have a Christian friend who points to the sign of the end of times being when we all had to have implants like this using just this exact excuse. Sort of an update of the 666 mark. I’m not that big on manipulating Bible prophecy to fit the facts but man, something like this makes you wonder if maybe he isn’t on to something.

  • RAF

    What is happening in the United Kingdom and why isn’t there any outcry? It seems that every day a new freedom is stripped away and the birthplace of human liberty becoming a facist nanny state without so much as a murmer of protest.

  • Eric Chamblee

    This truly boggles the mind. Orwell was an optimist. Of course here in the U.S. we prefer to be tracked with our cellphones and ‘traffic’ cams. Freedom is D-E-A-D. I think we are overly ready for a new revolution!

  • Lee: point taken (sigh). Ian: this is a little different from tracking cellphones, I’m afraid.

  • Funny thing: We fought a war 65 years ago to defeat fascism. Alas, it seems to have risen from the dead. They’ll start by chipping the crooks, then they’ll chip the kids “just for safety’s sake” and then they’ll try to chip the rest of us. I say “try,” because a lot of us here in America won’t be standing idly by when it happens. The last revolution started with dumping some tea in a harbor, for far lesser transgressions of our personal liberties.

  • Cap'n Dan

    Sorry, mates, but you are citizens of the United Kingdom. You are by definition, “mere vassals of the almighty British State” The only rights you have are those the crown in its generosity grants you, and those are completely revocable at the whim of your government.

    Best wishes!

    A Yank

  • Cap’n Dan: and you think it is different in the USA? Really? I disagree and in some ways the USA is actually worse than most by claiming super-ownership of you (via the IRS) if you are a US ‘citizen’ (I always prefer the more honest term ‘subject’) even if you leave the sovereign territory of the USA, meaning the US state does not just claim sovereignty over territory, it does so over people regardless of where they are in the world. Free eh?

    America is still a place where liberty can make a good fight of it, but the sneering complacency of so many Americans about the state of their own liberty is deeply alarming.

  • R C Dean

    Whilst I have a huge problem with this in theory, I have no problem with chip implanting into criminals.

    Once they’ve served their time, why do we need to chip them? If they are still a threat to the community, they shouldn’t be released. If they aren’t a threat to the community, why should they be chipped?

  • eCassandra

    This will go one of two ways.
    If, and that is a big IF, a person can hold there own data, this may be a good thing. I can hear many of you snapping through the monitor however you may want to read on.

    Personal data in today’s world is more important than ever so keeping it close is crucial. Having the capacity to hold, protect and control your own data provides the ultimate freedom for an individual balanced against the necessary responsibility of maintaining it. But will this require a chip?

    You will only be as free as the responsibility you are capable of assuming.

    RFID’s are the antithesis of keeping your data close because as noted above, how do you update a dumb chip? You don’t. The only options are to “smarten” the chip or modify the meta data wrapped around the chip off-chip which means you have to surrender responsibility for your freedom to those who will maintain it at their pleasure.

    So the real nut of the issue for Britain – and the rest of the world for that matter – is this:

    How responsible for your freedom will we choose to be?

    Those who elect responsibility will reject any subjugation in favor of improving the capabilities of the knowledge store already at their disposal.

    However, forewarned is forearmed so beware;

    As has always been the case, those who choose responsible freedom will ultimately be marked by mob beasts with more than the absence of RFID chips.

    Have a nice day – Cassandra out ;)

  • Cap'n Dan

    Perry – It’s a simple but profound difference in the basic structure of our nations. The US constitution starts from the assumption that all power derives from the governed, and grants powers to the government only as necessary to support the goals of the public. The government of the UK never made that distinction. Still, you have a point. Ben Franklin, asked by a spectator to the Constitutional Convention what form of Government was being devised for the US, responded, “A Republic – if you can keep it.”

  • Kevin Murphy

    The maximum range for passive RFID is measured in feet, if not inches. The device gets its transmit power by storing energy from the (powerful) received inquiry, then burping out a response. There is no address, so all tags within range respond, making the short range useful in preventing cacophony.

    There is utterly no way to use RFID from space, or indeed from lampposts. Think “doorway.” They are used in some situations for detecting who has passed into or out of a building, such as Alzheimer patients in a care facility, for good reason.

    The popular misconceptions regarding RFID are myriad and enter the realm of Urban Legend.

  • The US constitution starts from the assumption that all power derives from the governed, and grants powers to the government only as necessary to support the goals of the public. The government of the UK never made that distinction

    You seem a little confused about constitutional history on this side of the puddle from 1215 onwards, but more to the point…so what? The US Bill of Rights, Fourth & Sixth Amendment… did that stop RICO and effectively process-free civil forfeiture in the USA? No, it did not. At least under the colonial era sedition laws that so rightly outraged American opinion, you actually had to get convicted before your property was seized!

    The theory and reality of the USA are two very different things and I find it perplexing that more Americans are not more alarmed. I am half American, btw.

  • Rob Crawford

    If the data is stored in the chip, the person would have to be re-chipped whenever they moved or commited another offense.

    Nah. The chip would just have an ID code of some sort. The system would then index that to the address/police record.

  • Winger

    Here I go off the deep end again.

    Gee, is it just my imagination or…

    Does it seem like the same people who want to take our means of personal defense away (yes, I mean guns) are also the the same ones who are for schemes like this?

    You would think that would turn the light on for some but no, watching/getting the news and actually thinking logically would get in the way of (fill in the blank) Idoll or Dancing with the Stars, etc.

    My fear is that The People (geez, I hate sounding like a Bolshie) will realize too late that they are being lured into a big net.

    But then again, most resistance to (name your favorite control freak) fascism, etc has been started and maintained by small groups of hardheads until the general population can be brought in.

    Get and hide a suitable weapon and sufficient ammo. Wait, did I say that out loud?

  • Paul Marks

    Eventually it will be “chips in the brain”.

    Electronic systems (possibly using bio technology) to prevent us committing crimes – and to make sure we support such things as social justice and diversity.

    Of course, there may be a few “I.T. mess ups” leading to people who have had the stuff shoved in the brain either dying or ripping out the throats of other people.

    But I am sure the elite will think a few problems along the way are a price worth paying.

  • The Objective Historian

    Points; the existence of the Democratic State turns citizens into vassals of the State, i.e., they are vassals of themselves in a democracy. Also, this program only applies to convicted criminals, whom the democratic state could, if it wanted to, kill for shoplifting et al. Moreover, this is the people exerting greater, and limited, control of that portion of the people who have betrayed them. And, in your hyper-extreme scenario, all people get chips, it would be the people policing them selves, deciding that the invasion of civil liberties is worthwhile. The solution to this is not to cry SLAVERY. The solution is to lessen crime so this does not appeal to people.

    Chipping everyone is a mistake, I think, as a voter, but not because it violates civil liberties. It empowers corrupt law officers too much and one must presume at least 10% of law officers are corrupt to one degree or another.

    TOH

  • they are vassals of themselves in a democracy

    Yes, that is indeed the Official Delusion. If you are in a perpetual political minority in a true democracy (as opposed to something like a constitutional republic which constrains democracy), you are to all intents at the mercy of the majority. Your vote is worthless as a means of exercising any power at all over anything.

    ‘The People’ as used by The Objective Historian just means The Political System, nothing more. I am a vassal of the political system. No kidding. So…

    the people exerting greater, and limited, control of that portion of the people who have betrayed them

    … is correct.

    However ‘The People’ does not mean me. Or you. Or the guy next door to you. It means The State and you ain’t the state.

    In the case of the UK, The People (the political system) is a quasi democratic one (somewhat at national level, scarcely more than nominally at local level) in which, like all democracies, political activists working with entrenched bureaucracies are what matters’. That is who I am the vassal of. Yeah, just the people I want to see with panoptic surveillance powers over anyone not actually in gaol.

  • Windy Blow

    A chip in every one please, then all movements can be tracked, for instance organ donors found quickly (yes, I know, that’s just about everyone), illegal immigrants monitored (they are the ones without a chip sending a signal) and so on.

    But why not have them implanted in different places on each person? Then people can play “Find The Chip” and even brag about where their one is.

    Seriously, there might even be a TV Reality game show here. Exciting hey?

  • Richard Cook

    You’re fucked. Your whole country is fucked. Get out now. Save yourself’s.

    Or organize the underground

  • Steve Skubinna

    Why aren’t they investigating the Ludovico Treatment? I watched a very interesting documentary on it some years back, they ought to have the bugs worked out by now.

  • Anna Keppa

    I just saw “The Bourne Ultimatum”, where the American CIA is able to tap instantly into what appear to be hundreds of “security” cameras that track Bourne’s whereabouts in London rail stations, with the help of Echelon-type cellphone surveillance. (Ludicrously, the tell-tale phrase Echelon gloms onto is “Blackfriar”, a common name for pubs, hotels and eateries in the UK. I suppose someone calling a pub (“Hello, The Blackfriar? I’ll be delivering the ale at 3 PM today, not 2. Is that OK?”) risks being hunted down by CIA “agents” armed with sniper rifles.)

    But I digress. The film’s daft director Paul Greengrass accuses Washington of security “paranoia”, yet he is oblivious to how much farther along Britain is in fulfilling Orwell’s predictions about “Big Brother”.

    Can anyone imagine Americans passively permitting millions of surveillance cameras, as the UK does, or chip implants? I think not.

  • Ian B

    Can anyone imagine Americans passively permitting millions of surveillance cameras, as the UK does, or chip implants? I think not.

    Of course they would. Some of them would moan about it. They’d talk a lot about how they have their guns and that protects them from the government and all that. But you really think the population of the USA will storm the Capitol over security cameras in shopping malls? I think not.

    Remember, you’re talking about a nation that let its government ban beer.

  • Jordan

    (Ludicrously, the tell-tale phrase Echelon gloms onto is “Blackfriar”, a common name for pubs, hotels and eateries in the UK.

    No, it was “Black Briar,” the codename of the program which “created” Bourne.

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